This month we are pleased to feature SI Precast Concrete Products as part of our Meet a Precaster blog series. Answers were provided by Greg Barrett, sales manager.
Don’t forget to check out all of our Meet a Precaster blog posts and if you’re an NPCA producer member and would like to be featured in a future Meet a Precaster post, please send an email to NPCA’s internal communication and web manager, Sara Geer.
Q: Where are you located?
A: SI Precast has 40 manufacturing plants located in the Midwest including Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas, Colorado, Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana, New York, Pennsylvania and Oregon. Our primary office is located in Grandview, Mo., a suburb of Kansas City. Our corporate headquarters is located in Overland Park, Kan.
Q: How did your company get its start?
A: SI Precast is a division of Wilbert Funeral Services. Wilbert is the largest manufacturer of concrete burial vaults in the United States and has been providing products and services to the funeral industry since 1933. In the 1980s, SI diversified into non-funeral related products including a variety of precast concrete products. These products include, but are not limited to, septic tanks, underground utilities, agricultural products, retaining wall blocks, tornado shelters and numerous custom precast items. SI and Wilbert have the ability to provide these products nationwide.
Q: What value does the NPCA bring to your company and to the industry?
A: NPCA membership and plant certification gives our company a competitive advantage over non-NPCA manufacturers. NPCA’s quality standards are well recognized in the industry and are often demanded by specifiers and regulators. Our participation in various committees within NPCA allows us to help drive quality changes throughout the precast industry.
Q: How have the relationships you’ve developed through NPCA membership impacted your business?
A: Having access to other precasters through NPCA has provided SI Precast with invaluable contacts to learn about new products and procedures. Our involvement on several NPCA committees has allowed us to interact with other precasters and address current challenges and opportunities in the industry.
Q: What are the top advantages of utilizing precast concrete products?
A: Precast concrete products have long been viewed as very durable and long-lasting products. Advances in admixtures and quality control procedures have only enhanced this image. As competitive products made from commodities like steel and plastic continue to see price increases, the value of precast concrete becomes more and more evident. Precast enjoys an advantage over poured-in-place concrete as it is generally poured inside, under controlled conditions and is not typically influenced by weather-related issues.
Q: What is the most interesting or unique precast project you’ve worked on?
A: We have done a number of projects for military bases across the country. Most of what we have produced is for the training of personnel in many different disciplines utilizing the latest in military technology. A couple of these projects have been top secret and have been utilized for high-profile missions. We are very proud of our involvement with our armed forces.
Q: What drives you and your employees to produce quality precast concrete products?
A: We have been in the funeral industry since 1933 and are accustomed to providing top-of-the-line service even on short notice. We have been successful in transferring that service attitude to the manufacture and delivery of top quality precast concrete products to a huge variety of industries.
Q: Tell us about a time when you changed a spec to precast on a project and why the change was made.
A: Several years ago, we worked with the City of Tulsa, Okla., to help them with a massive flood control project in the creeks throughout the city and surrounding communities. They had just approved a sales tax to prevent the ongoing problem of flooding in the area. Previously, the city had utilized poured-in-place bank protection or gabion walls. The residents and city government were no longer interested in the look of these products. We suggested our Redi-Rock Retaining Wall System to provide miles of beautiful stream bank protection.
Q: What makes precast concrete an even better product today than it has ever been in the past?
A: The advances in technology related to admixtures as well as the modernizing of mixers systems and related production equipment have greatly increased the quality of the products produced and the efficiency of production.
Q: How do you see the precast industry – and your company in particular – evolving in the future?
A: SI Precast has positioned itself to take full advantage of advances in technology in the future. We are continuing to upgrade our plant infrastructure and delivery equipment to streamline production and better meet the needs of our customers. Our partnership with NPCA helps us to stay on the forefront of these advances. The precast industry continues to grow in stature thanks to the many advances in quality and production techniques.
The opinions expressed in this blog post are solely those of the member, and not of NPCA or any of its employees.